Boston Scientific is releasing in the United States its Wavewriter Alpha line of spinal cord stimulators. The four Wavewriter Alpha pain management devices provide Bluetooth connectivity, allow patients to still be scanned under MRI, given certain precautions, and offer so-called Fast Acting Sub-perception Therapy (FAST).
FAST is exciting because it provides near immediate pain relief without causing paresthesia, a tingling sensations that patients commonly report when utilizing spinal cord stimulators. Paresthesia-free stimulation therapies are already in existence, but they take a few days or even weeks to finally start working. FAST is, well, fast. If all goes well, in only a few minutes after being turned on, both pain and tingling are nearly eliminated in patients newly implanted with a Waverwiter Alpha device.
“We have found that the specific targeting and stimulation parameters of FAST uniquely engage the surround inhibition mechanism to produce rapid and robust pain relief,” said Warren M. Grill, distinguished professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, who helped develop the new therapy. “What sets FAST apart from other forms of SCS is that we understand the underlying mechanism, which helps define clinical practices to optimize patient outcomes.”
According to Boston Scientific, the new devices are indicated “as an aid in the management of chronic intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs including unilateral or bilateral pain associated with failed back surgery syndrome, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Types I and II, intractable low back pain and leg pain.”